The Feminine

Modern Hellespont

Modern Hellespont - video  Video
Modern Hellespont - video

This footage was shot at the Ideal Home exhibition and then re-edited. I am still fascinated by the endless character of the swimmer's endeavour, something that connects to some of my earlier performance works exploring the nature of tasks, often domestic in character, which of necessity must be repeated time and time again.

The other aspect of this piece by which I am preoccupied is the design of the pool itself - shaped to enhance the artificially generated current against which the swimmer is pitted, it has a geological dimension to it and has I think subliminally influenced both the work I am now doing with sea bed mapping and also the architectural models that form part of the submersion series.

The approach of the crowd to the edge of the tank, conjurers up the image of a 19th century fairground attraction, featuring the 'maiden in the tank', or something similar.

Hellespont is the former name of the Dardanelles, the strait of water that separates Europe from Asia. Legend has it that Leander would swim across nightly to meet with his beloved Hero who would light a lamp at the top of her tower to guide his way. One night the wind blew out Hero's light and Leander was drowned. Hero threw herself from the tower in grief and died as well. The poet, Lord Byron became the first known person to swim the Hellespont in 1810.


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Tair Lair

  • Images
Tair Lair

Series of photographs taken at a tidal swimming pool Aberdeenshire


Tair Lair: Images

Avid Metamorphosis I

Avid Metamorphosis I
Exhibited: National Review of Live Art, Glasgow 1994 and ICA, London 1995

The Encircling of a Shadow

  • Performance
  • Gallery
  • Video
The Encircling of a Shadow

Commissioned and Exhibited: Newlyn Art Gallery, Cornwall. 2001


SHRINKING the miniature

SHRINKING the miniature
Commissioned by Firstsite. Exhibited: The Minories, Colchester 1996

Avid Metamorphosis II

Avid Metamorphosis II
Exhibited: Dartington Arts, Devon. 1995

Disorders

Disorders
Commissioned: Beaconsfield. Exhibited:St Thomas' Hospital, London. 1996

Ballast

Ballast
Commissioned: Now 96. Exhibited: Bonnington Gallery, Nottingham 1996

auto/nomos

auto/nomos
Commissioned: Bluecoat Arts Centre and Visionfest.
Exhibited: Bluecoat Arts Centre, Liverpool 1997

Hidden Seas/ Surface Waters

  • Video
Hidden Seas/ Surface Waters
Performance for camera, 1999 - Duration 11 minutes

Drawing on family experience of physical disability Hidden Seas / Surface Waters attempted to articulate a body of difference, whose boundaries remain physiologically and psychologically fluid, inverting the characteristic function of light as a source of 'illumination'.

The use of silhouettes within the work references the 18th century physiognomic experiments of James Lavater, who attempted to read from the profile of his sitters their moral and spiritual 'nature'.

Supported by a London Arts Board - London Hybrids Research and Development Award.

Production support Irish Museum of Modern Art and Arthouse, Dublin.
Residency and screening: Irish Musueum of Modern Art, Dublin. 1999
Exhibited, Spacex, Exeter. 2003

A little light relief


Surfing - a term that in this context takes on a new meaning - the net last night, in search of images which reveal a popular sense of the sub maritime, I came across a collection of photographs taken by Bruce Mozert in the 1930's of underwater tableaux. Searching more widely the predominance of images of women in underwater settings is striking revealing perhaps, in the fantastic character of these exotic projections, a deep sense of association between the feminine and the fluid along with a desire to colonise and domestic such spaces. The later being evident too in the number of underwater restaurants, shops and hotels that exist worldwide.

Truthing Gap: Beneath the Briny

Calenture - a leap in to the void

I have received a catalogue from an Australian artist friend, Jo Darbyshire, whose work shares my pre-occupation with undersea worlds - she describes her floating worlds series as concerned with the body in the landscape, sensuality, immersion and imagination

" Although abstract in nature, my paintings reference bodily experience 'moving over' a landscape, …'flying' or 'floating' over mountains or underwater reefs … a bodily 'letting go'; Pleasure."

Reading two downloadable essays written about her work I am struck by Gall Jones's references in The Erotics of Immersion - Responses to Floating Life to Calenture, a kind of fever whereby sailors would imagine the sea to be rolling fields and throw themselves ecstatically into it (a misrecognition she understands in terms of sensual desire). So much so that I have taken the term as the title of a new piece of work, produced as part of Land Use Poetics a group workshop and show in which I have just taken part at The Museum of Sketches, Lund, Sweden, in which I jumped 'blind' from a diving board, in a kind of homage to Yves Klein's Leap into the void